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Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys

GUEST,Bob Coltman 17 Aug 07 - 07:27 PM
12-stringer 17 Aug 07 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 18 Aug 07 - 06:42 AM
12-stringer 18 Aug 07 - 03:06 PM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 07 - 03:08 PM
12-stringer 18 Aug 07 - 06:57 PM
12-stringer 10 Oct 07 - 03:11 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 07:27 PM

On a thread five years ago there was a reference to a song called "Ain't It Hell Boys," by the Smoky Mountain Ramblers.

It was said to be related to "Late Last Night When Willie Come Home" (and thus, I suppose, to "Come On My Pink / My Pretty Little Pink" and so on).

But I've never heard "Ain't It Hell Boys." Can anyone post the lyrics and give some idea as to the tune?

Thanks,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: 12-stringer
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 07:52 PM

(chorus)
Ain't it hell, hell, ain't it hell, oh, boys
To love one that never did love you.
Ain't it hell, hell, ain't it hell, oh, boys,
To love one that never would be true.

It was late last night when I took morphine
Just to drive my blues away.
If it had not of been for the best friend on earth
In hell I'd have been today.

I had a reel-to-reel dub of this in the early 70s, long since lost. My interest at the time was largely in repertoire-building, and the verse (and chorus) were the only ones in the song that weren't essentially the same as in UDM. I'm embarrassed now to say that in those days I'd never heard the Skip James version -- had never heard Skip James at all. But this is another version of "Drunken Spree/Late Last Night," melodically and lyrically.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 06:42 AM

Thanks, 12-stringer. The chorus is close to Woody Guthrie's "Hard, Ain't It Hard." In fact it seems to sing easier to the "Hard, Ain't It Hard" melody than it does to "Late Last Night."

Makes me wonder if Woody heard the Ramblers' record, took out the word hell, merged the chorus lyric with verses from "Tavern In the Town," and made a new song out of it.

Is the melody identical to "Late Last Night"?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: 12-stringer
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 03:06 PM

Yeah, it's the same melody as "Late" -- not note-for-note, but recognizable as soon as it kicks in with that I-IV-IV-I.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 03:08 PM

What's UDM, 12-stringer?
Any chance you can reconstruct the entire song, even if it repeats parts of other songs? I hate to see it all alone here with just one verse and the chorus.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ain't It Hell Boys
From: 12-stringer
Date: 18 Aug 07 - 06:57 PM

"UDM" is Uncle Dave Macon.

Sorry, I haven't heard the Smoky Mtn Ramblers recording since abt 1973, and though most of it corresponds to "Late Last Night," I don't remember which verses. I lifted the chorus and the morphine verse for my own put-together "Late," which I originally learned hearing the McGee Bros do it on the Opry in the middle 60s. The 78 is fairly rare, since it was issued in the middle of the Depression and not that many potential buyers had the 75 cents to spend on a record.

A l'autre main, this site has 2 other sides by the Ramblers that I'm pretty sure weren't there the last time I checked it, and it appears they're still adding tracks from the 1929/1930 Vocalion-Brunswick sessions at the St James in Knoxville, so it may turn up yet.

http://lynnpoint.com/st_james/songs.htm

Looks like a couple of other new titles there as well.

NB though that when I downloaded "The Great Hatfield-McCoy Feud" some months ago, it was missing one of the four parts. (I used to have that on reel-to-reel, too. It's like a radio drama giving an abridged version of the feud story, and every now and then the boys get together to drink some liquor and play a tune. Doesn't entirely work but an interesting variation on the "Corn Liquor Still in Georgia" prototype -- not as interesting as Stoneman's "Serenade in the Mountains" or "Possum Trot School Exhibition," though. Let's put a bucket over the stovepipe and tear up Jack in general!)


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Subject: Lyr Add: ONE OLD SHIRT (from Roy Acuff)
From: 12-stringer
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 03:11 AM

Another version of this came to my ears recently. The melody has one or two noticeable differences, though it's out of the same family. The chorus is very similar to "Hard, Ain't It Hard," and it's quite possible the Acuff recording was the direct inspiration for the Guthrie version.

One Old Shirt
as sung by Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys, Vocalion 04657 (1938)

One old shirt is all I've got
And a dollar is all I crave
Oh, I brought nothing to this whole wide world,
Gonna take nothing to my grave.

(chorus)
Oh, ain't it hard, hard, oh, Lord, ain't it hard
To love a girl that don't love you?

Now come, my little pink and tell me what you think
You're a long time making up your mind.
Oh, you tell more lies than the stars in the skies,
Sweet baby, your heart's not mine.

My baby come home late hours in the night
She just keeps rapping on the door
I wake up in my stocking feet
My baby don't rap no more.

[Or perhaps the last line should go
My baby, don't rap no more. Acuff doesn't sing a noticeable comma in it, though.)

I love you, sweet baby, till the sea runs dry
The rocks are at the sun
I love you, sweet baby, till the day I die
Then you may know I'm gone.

I wish I was on some rocky mountain top
Sitting in my big armchair
With one arm around my liquor keg
And the other one around my dear.


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